Best way to roast the broomstick. Must try. Five Stars.

Outside the Box

Chuck has slept in a locked crate since the second night of his life in our family. Crate training was something we had read and heard about, and after a single night of having him sleep on a blanket next to the bed, a night of living hell wherein we’d wake repeatedly to the sound of him pooping and having a joyful wee in various corners of the bedroom, we knew that there was no other way to go about training our little beast, aside from perhaps incessant freakish screaming in a Southern accent which has worked gloriously on occasion.

We call his crate The Box, and for the last 300 nights or so he has slept in The Box, albeit frequently unwillingly. Sometimes when it’s time to go into The Box he’ll pout or hide behind behind my legs, his nose and ears peeking through the space between my knees. But Jon and I are both confident that The Box is the best thing that has ever happened to our dog, so much so that we’re always quick to tell parents of a screaming toddler or whiny baby, stick the damn thing in a box!

But recently I’ve been bugging Jon to let Chuck sleep outside of The Box if only because he seems mature enough to handle the responsibility. I mean, Chuck is almost a year old, and he already knows his multiplication tables. How hard could it be for him to sleep in the little fleece puppy bed in the corner of the room? Not hard, I know, but you underestimate the tenacity and overall bull-headedness of the one I call Husband. He’ll say, “No way,” and “Nuh-huh,” and “Blah blah, we need to be united on this, blah blah,” something a conscientious yet wholly stubborn parent would say, whatever. He totally doesn’t understand, and I’m totally rolling my eyes when I say that.

So a few nights ago in the middle of the night I heard a terrible sound coming from The Box. It’s a sound so distinct and bone-chilling that you know what it is before the end of the first bellowing syllable. And that sound was the centipede-like contortion of Chuck’s abdomen as he regurgitated half of his dinner, moving from his hind-quarters up through his belly, wriggling up his puppy esophagus and out of his snout in a gigantic burst of moaning, gritty bile.

So I quickly cleaned it up and somehow convinced a sleepy unsuspecting Husband to let Chuck sleep outside of The Box for the rest of the night. And let me tell you, I was almost so excited I couldn’t get back to sleep. It was like the first slumber party with my dog ever!

Except he didn’t sleep in the little fleece puppy bed in the corner of the room. And he didn’t sleep on a blanket beside the bed. No, my 45 pound SuperMut slept in the bed on top of my body. Sometimes he was on my legs, other times he was stretched out prostrate across my torso. For the majority of the night he stole the covers and occupied my entire half of the bed, twitching and snoring like a bloated Fred Flintstone in a wife beater. I’m certain he had a dream wherein he chased a rabbit through the woods, finally catching it and ripping off its bloody head with the swift jerk of his entire spasmodic body. I woke in the morning with his tail up my nose.

I think it’s safe to say that I will never again question Husband’s judgment. That SuperMut motherfucker is going back in The Box.

  • slave to the world

    i don’t have a dog, but i do have a kitten. for such a small little bugger, he sure does a great job of occuping my pillow. there isn’t one night that goes by that i’m not waking up at 4am and pushing his little ass over. how does a 3 pound kitten take over like he does? i must say the best part of it is when he wakes me up in the middle of the night pushing his wet little nose against my face purring like a little motor boat wanting to be pet. one night he was pressing against my nose causing me to wake up in panic because i thought someone was trying to kill me. i couldn’t breath. not a fun way to wake up.

  • The Drifter

    I’m astounded by how many of y’all Skinnerians put your dogs in boxes overnight. Up until a few months ago, the only person I know who did that was my grandpa, but he once got a divorce because his wife didn’t clip her toenails often enough, so we just chalked it up to obsessive orderliness. On the other hand, my aunt and uncle not only let their dog sleep on one of those kickass eddie bauer dog beds, but when he tore it up they let him parade the thing around the house like it’s fresh kill — and then they went out and got him a new one! the dog was also recently given his own couch. oi vay.

  • I don’t have a dog story. But I have a cat who thinks he’s a dog. He fetches and he comes when you call him, but he pisses in the litter box. He also sleeps under the covers with me when it’s cold. And he loves the electric blanket.

  • (disclaimer: i haven’t read any of the preceding comments)

    my uncle has two purebred english cockers. they are not smart dogs. they also sleep in boxes, but he calls them their “rooms,” as in “Hillary, do you want to go to your room?” it makes it seem better than a big plastic box with a metal fence, somehow.

  • My little 12 lb dog slept in her crate just fine until I went away on business once when she was about 8 months old. While I was gone my mother convinced my girlfriend that it was cruel to make the little puppy sleep all alone in the evil crate. So when I returned home we had a new bed companion. She slept through the night every night in the bed with us until recently. She’s almost 2 and has decided that she only needs to sleep part of the night with us, she sleeps the rest of the night on her bed on the floor.

  • growing up we had black labs, one of which insisted on sleeping with my in my little twin bed. the other slept either under the bed or in my closet. when i left for college, he started sleeping in my parents room, but they don’t let him on the bed. he rutinely will put all but one paw on the bed. while technically not all the way *on* the bed, he’s not exactly off of it.

  • squishy

    We had our dog in a box at night for his first 20 months. One night he started yowling and carried on for several nights. After a few long nights of listing to that night after night, we decided we’d had enough and made a bed for him in our room. It only took a couple of nights to train him to sleep there and we’ve all had sweet dreams ever since.

  • Lex

    Haven’t owned a dog as a grownup, but we had two cats who were indoor cats until my wife developed severe allergies. They always slept with us — the little one curled up and nestled snugly atop my wife’s hip, the big one between my feet with his head and one paw resting on my ankle.

    I miss it.

  • Dirrrty

    What’s wrong with a fawking crate, people?

    Our 3 year old basset hound has been crate-trained from day 1. She never peed or poohed in it, or in the house, as a result. She was 9 weeks old when we brought her home, and after 4 nights of whining (and no sleep for Mom!) she bought into it. Now, it’s her haven – she loves “her bed”. If she’s tired – she heads for her crate. If she’s annoyed by noise – she heads for the crate. If I raise my voice for any reason, she heads for the crate (heh, heh: I’m working on the rest of the family!). We love her, but man, is she stanky! I wouldn’t want her in my bed! Besides, she hasn’t attempted suicide, set any fires or killed small animals yet – so I don’t think she’s in the least bit traumatized. Any pet psychologists care to wrangle with me on this one???

  • I tried having our puppy, Lucy in bed with us. She spent the first hour grunting and licking herself. Do you know what an irritating sound that is?? She may have spent the next few hours licking herself, too, but we’ll never know cause she was back in her own room.

  • Neurojack

    I couldn’t lurk on your site any longer with a post like that. I will have to check under my bed to make sure you aren’t documenting our life. The last sentence cracked me up…to the point that people at work asked what was so funny.

    We have two miniature schnauzers (Tux and Oscar) that think they are socially ‘above’ a crate and prefer to sleep in the most un-optimized positions on the bed. We have come to an arrangement with them, weeknights in the crate, weekends on the bed. They bitterly oblige.

  • I had a pet moth, until last night when he fell of my windowsill and I realized he was dead.

  • Regarding Heather’s comment: When people ask you if you sleep with your pets, you should just wink and say, “No, we’re just good friends.”

  • Alright, on the side of petowners who spoil their beast rotten, I just have to say…

    Awwwww. That’s got to be the cutest damn picture of Chuck I’ve seen so far. He looks like a giant fuzzy shrimp, all curled up like that.

  • I used to let my dog sleep on my bed, but she takes her “share” out of the middle and I wake up with a backache…now she has her own doggie bed!

  • EC

    He looks extreeeemly comfortable on that bed. Good luck with that back in the box thing. At least you don’t hear little “phffff” noises in the middle of the night, causing you to pinch your nose shut and yell, “Aw Chuck!” My dog seems unusually gassy lately.

  • Staci

    My husband and I used to have a dog, until he chewed up six pairs of my shoes & threw up all the leather in my car, then I made him get rid of Bear. However, my cat on the other hand would sleep with us all the time. When I was pregnant with our first, she would curl up right next to my belly.

  • Danika

    When we got our first puppy he had a kennel also known as “house” and it was downstairs while our bedrooms were upstairs. He didn’t really like it much but he got used to it and it soon became his haven. When we got the second dog she didn’t like her “house” but the other dog clued her in. I don’t think he liked her whining disturbing his sleep. She soon got used to it as well. It was never as much of a haven for her as it was for the other one. When they were about 5 and 6 we stopped leaving them locked in during the day so they got the run of the house. Just before we put the little one (which was the older one but just way littler) to sleep (he had a brain tumor) I let them sleep in my room. Once that happened they no longer were put in their “house” at night either. Not too long ago though the remaining one had some seizures. The vet said she has a tumor and that depending on if/how/when it grows she will have to be put to sleep (especially since we don’t want her to suffer). She now has to be put in her room which is the spare room that has her “house” in it since we don’t want her to lay at the top of the stairs and fall down them if she has a seizure. She really didn’t like being put in her room at night again but I think the amount of spoiling she is getting makes up for it. Just last night she got her treats 4 times.

  • PJ

    That is so Cool Hand Luke-ish. “You wee in the bedroom, you spend a night in The Box.”
    In our kinder, gentler house, we called it ‘your house’. “Time to to your house, Bailey,” Then I took the kid to Michigan for vacation for a week. The husband had to stay home because of work, with STRICT instructions to not, under any circumstances, let the dog up on the bed whilst I was away. Of course, 12 years later, she is still sleeping on the bed. At least she’s only 45 pounds, plus she keeps my feet warm. Now she’s pretty old though, so we kinda have to help her even get up there.

  • i call my rabbits cage her “house” too. seems more comfy, less prisony that way.

  • Tinychipug

    We have four pugs that sleep in the bed with us. Since we both work all day, it’s nice to spend some time with them at night. However, if I had human children, I’d probably put them in a box.

  • archtop

    porcelain or plush never poop or pee!!

  • Adrienne

    You know, you kid about that “get the toddler a box” thing, but I actually had one. Only my parents thought it would be a great way to keep me from getting killed if a tornado destroyed the house (we grew up in Texas.) Viva la tornado crate!

    Best friend found that out and NEVER let me live it down. Bitch….

  • Pammy

    Treats in the box make em like it more. My dogs were upset when I took the box away

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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